The biggest problem in the world today — at the root of so much suffering, ecological devastation, terrorism and global insecurity — is the absolute appalling distribution of wealth and resources across the Planet. As you can observe for yourself in the thought-provoking video on global economic inequality below, the wealth disparity defies reason:

  • The world’s total wealth is estimated at $223 trillion dollars
  • The richest 1% globally hold 43% of the world’s wealth.
  • The bottom 80% have just 6% of the world’s wealth.
  • The richest 300 billionaires have more wealth than the bottom 3 billion.
  • 200 years ago rich countries were 3x richer than poor countries
  • By the end of colonialism in the 1960s, they were 35x richer
  • Today, the richest countries are almost 80x richer.

The last 30 years has seen this inequality skyrocket within wealthy nations and also between rich and poor nations. Today, we are experiencing somewhat of a global re-balancing as wealthy but heavily indebted Western countries are experiencing a rapid decline in their standard of living while developing countries like China, Brazil, Chile and Mexico are experiencing a rapid increase in their wealth.

This re-balancing is something that needs to happen but it is made much more difficult by how poorly new wealth creation is balanced through both rich and poor countries. If we are to solve our global economic, social and environmental, we need to find a better way to distribute wealth throughout the world and within countries better so nobody is forced to live in hunger, desperation and constant insecurity.

Are you in the Global 1%?

I recently stumbled across a thought-provoking tool called the Global Rich List, which measures your income against the rest of the world. I was shocked to find that I fall in the top 1% of global incomes. I don’t exactly feel rich, but seeing the data and the income comparisons made really put money in perspective for me.

Basically, anyone who makes more than $35 K US per year is in the global 1% of income earners. If you are employed and living in a Western country you probably fall somewhere in the global 1%. Try it out and see for yourself. You’ll likely be amazed.